I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
Sal used to know his place with his adoptive gay father, their loving Mexican-American family, and his best friend, Samantha. But it’s senior year, and suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and realizing he no longer knows himself. If Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he? This humor-infused, warmly humane look at universal questions of belonging is a triumph.
Man, this book got me right in the feels. Seriously, it was so beautifully written and it was moving and I cried so many times. My husband said I should start rating books based on the number of tears it causes. This book would get a LOT of tears . . . and typically, the more I cry, the more I love the book. This one is no exception.
Let's talk about how much I loved EVERY single character! Sal is a white guy who was adopted by a gay Mexican guy when his mom died of cancer when he was really young. I absolutely loved Sal's dad. Seriously, LOVED HIM! He was so incredibly supportive and fatherly and he had love for every single child in his son't life. He was the perfect parent. I loved his relationship with Sal. It was so perfectly realistic and loving and wonderful. His dad was stern when it counted, but he wasn't overprotective about it and Sam knew he could talk to his dad about anything.
And here was an amazing thing: NO ROMANCE!! Seriously, the friendship was my FAVORITE part! Sam is a straight girl who Sal has known since he was a child and they are basically siblings. I was kind of worried the author would throw a romance in there somewhere at the last minute, but I am so happy that didn't happen. They had this ridiculously funny banter and they just seemed like regular teenagers. I am just in awe of the fact that a straight girl and a straight guy were best friends with not even a HINT of romance between them. I loved that they could cry in front of each other and they were for each other, no matter what and they were pretty honest with each other. But yes, Sal did keep a few secrets because, you know, realism and all. There were a few times when I thought Sam was a bit too pushy, but she evolved a lot and I still loved her. Oh, and there was food in this book. SO MUCH FOOD! Sal's grandmother showed her love by cooking for her family and I loved that. She made these homemade tamales that had me drooling on my Kindle and they ate SO MANY TACOS! Now I need a taco . . . desperately!
I think the ONE issue I had with this book is that the plot was kind of . . . non existent. Sal had questions about his biological father and his grandmother gets cancer and he starts punching people at random but I didn't feel like none of things really moved things along in the book or even got resolved successfully. It felt like it was basically a year in the life of Sal where a bunch of bad things happen. Basically, there is a lot of tragedy in this book and I don't think all of it was necessary. But the characters and the food and the friendship and the family were all so amazing that I STILL loved this book to pieces.
Buy/Borrow/Skip: Buy this one!!